Hey everyone!  I am so excited about the feedback I have gotten from many of you regarding my newest venture to independently publish my novelty book.  I thought I would share with you a little about the process and some things I’m finding out.

Okay, first of all it might interest you to know a little bit about traditionally published books.  Did you know a typical picture book author will get a $3,000-$10,000 advance.  Then, in order to get paid any more the book needs to sale enough copies to pay back the advance and then the author gets royalty checks.  A common royalty is usually a small fraction of the sales price 10-15%.  You are looking at getting about $0.70-$1.20 per each book sale for a typical 32 page picture book.  I always thought that was super low.  But if you think about all the people that need to get paid to produce the book I can understand.  This is the printer, the formatter, the editor, the agent (typically), the illustrator (if not the author), the marketing department, etc.

Here are how the numbers are working out so far with my planned publication of The Pancake Menu: What will you order? Menu & Cookbook.  I just got my first quote from a printer (now keep in mind my book will be 9″x 12″ with 100 lb thick paper and not the typical format–here is a little video of a mini version)
Because of the complexity of the pages it would be way too expensive to produce in the USA, so I have contacted three off shore printers (they print in China, Korea, etc.)

My first quote was for 2000 copies, $3.30 a book.  That sounds pretty cheap to me.  Then I researched on Amazon how much it costs to be an Amazon Advantage member (this is if you are acting as the printer for your own book–you buy the ISBN/barcode and stuff).  I was shocked at how much they take–55% of the retail price!!!  Whoa.  No wonder they are so big.  So, I get 45% of the retail price and they use the buffer 55% to set the price how high or low they want and handle the distribution.

Now take into consideration if I price my book at $24.95 my 45% is $11.23, then subtract the price of the printing that is $7.93.  But I will incur other costs too.  For the formatter about $1400, ISBN numbers and barcode $320, plus other costs that are bound to pop up.  I am looking at approximately $6 a book in profit.  I must say that is a lot less than I thought when I first heard the printing would be $3.30 a book.

There will also be costs with storing the books…  Amazon doesn’t hold onto a million books for you.  They ask for small quantities first and then based on past sales they may ask for larger amounts.  Only when they run out do they ask for more.  The most profit for independent authors comes when you can sell directly–whether off of a website or doing school visits.  Then you can give them a discount off the retail price but the big A isn’t taking their huge chunk (so a profit of $10-12 is possible).

I found all this interesting…It does seem like a lot of work, but I really want my book to be able to be enjoyed by kids everywhere and now I have more control.  So, Amazon does take a big chunk but at least they can ship the book virtually anywhere.

Here are some of the latest drawings if you wanted a peak

My kids have mixed feeling about eating pancakes that have food coloring in them.  I think it is so fun!  I tell them they can close their eyes if they want.  It tastes the same…

The Ladybug pancake not on the plate.
The plate for the ladybug pancake.

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